Helensburgh – people are being discouraged from going there during pandemic.

By Democrat reporter

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has encouraged residents living in tier three and four areas to avoid all travel into Helensburgh and Lomond, which is under tier two.

The MSP, pictured right, has been contacted by a number of local people who live in Helensburgh and Lomond concerned about the impact that those who are coming to the area from tiers three and four might having on Helensburgh’s ability to contain the virus.

It has been reported that due to the large number of visitors from tier three and four areas to places like Luss, police were left with no option but to order the closure of local hospitality businesses to deter visitors from coming. This has meant that businesses have been unable to trade despite being legally able to.

Others have reported visitors from Glasgow, Hamilton and as far away as Edinburgh breaking lockdown rules to drink in local pubs and dine in local restaurants.

Jackie Baillie said: “I completely understand how frustrating these restrictions are – particularly for those living under tier four as I do.

“However, I strongly encourage everyone to avoid making non-essential trips into Helensburgh from areas with a higher COVID-19 rate.

“The influx of visitors in some areas has resulted in local businesses being forced to halt trading and it will risk a spike in local cases of COVID 19 rates if we are not careful.

“If the Scottish Government deem these restrictions to be necessary then it must also take full responsibility for ensuring that they are followed and enforced. That means more resources for the Police and Councils.

“These restrictions are not only in place to keep ourselves safe but to protect the most vulnerable in our society. Case numbers are starting to reduce, the roll out of the vaccine is about to begin, but it may be a while before everyone is vaccinated so we need to stick to the rules until then.”

Oban ferry port and St Columba’s Cathedral is attracting fewer visitors.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 is estimated to have caused a £159 million year-on-year drop in tourism revenue in Argyll and Bute during the first six months of 2020.

A new report also reveals that for the first eight months of 2020, the number of tourists visiting the area dropped by 89 per cent on the same period last year.

Other figures have shown that the number of tourists visiting the area from December to June was just seven per cent of Argyll and Bute Council’s target number.

The stark financial impact of the pandemic on tourism in the area is laid out in a report which was considered by the authority’s environment, development and infrastructure committee at its meeting via Skype on Thursday.

Information has been gathered from the Moffat Centre, a consultancy and research facility for travel and tourism, based at Glasgow Caledonian University.

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